Does this man look like he feels guilty?

OK, get this straight.  This is my blog, and I am the the absolute final word on what is fact versus fiction on these virtual pages, got it?

Thank you.

Now, just because I am the Grand Poombah of Reality here doesn’t mean I make stuff up.  Occasionally I take poetic license to make things more…compelling.  But I start with the truth.

It is with this explanation that I launch this week’s sad tale.  And it all started in a sandy little place we like to call Nowheresville, Texas.

Lately, our tranquil Nowheresville weekends (aka “Death Camp“) have changed to become even more idyllic.  [This is a literary example of irony.  In real life, irony is known as sarcasm.]  That’s because we have added manual labor to Eric’s slacker-like normal agenda of “triathlon training in extreme heat.”  Our manual labor is for a good cause: my parents lent us their skid loader, and we are using it to clear our driveway and homesite.  And to build a running trail for Ironman training.  And to clear our “Jack and the Beanstalk weed pit,” fka our pond.

** For those who are keeping score, we’ve tried this skid loader/tractor exercise before.   It cost $1000 for one day, including all damage repair to the skid loader.  [Don’t ask]  It was after this day of skid loadering that we ended up, six months of Texas drought later, with a pond that looked like this:  click here.  It used to look like this:  click here, and scroll down until you get to the good stuff.   Where I come from, we call that pouring money down a dry hole, literally. **

Back to our story:  To augment our tree/bramble/brush/bush/land clearing capabilities, Eric invested $700 in a new industrial chain saw and gas-powered pole saw.

** For those who are keeping score, we’ve tried this chainsaw exercise before.  It cost $250 dollars, and the unit was deemed unworthy of repair after its “rougher than intended use” at the hands of Bubba-mon, aka Eric. **

Where was I?  Oh yes, our visit to Lowe’s.  Anyway, Bubba-mon presented me with dust masks, gloves, safety glasses, and the two new chainsaws with which to massacre our forest, all of which I later wore, and none of which did he let touch his skin the entire weekend.  We loaded up the dogs and the teenagers, and we headed to Nowheresville.

Our last two visits to Nowheresville for the purpose of skid loadering had not gone so well.  On the second to last visit, someone forgot the keys to the Quacker (our trailer).  On the last visit, someone forgot the keys to the skid loader.  Someone is really a dumbass.  Yes, Someone’s name is Pamela.  Anyway, this time we were ready, with color-coded, tagged sets in triplicate.

Susanne (14) set the tone immediately.   Here is a picture of Suz 5 minutes into the weekend.  Check out the look on her precious, precious face.  I can’t tell for sure, but I think she’s smiling.

Don't let her grip on the pole saw fool you. She didn't actually use that thing.

Here is a picture of Suz the next day after we sent her home and she spent the night with a friend dolling up and taking pictures.  At least she didn’t go anywhere looking like that.

Suz 1, parents 0.

Yeah.

So, I started using the pole saw, and Bubba-mon headed to the shed to fire up the skid loader, which roared like a champ.  And that’s all it did.  The bucket boom would not lift, and as he backed it up, the bucket wedged 3 yards of sand underneath the belly of the skidloader, causing it to turtle with all 4 wheels spinning helplessly in the middle of a mighty sandstorm.  After only 1.5 hours of jacking its 8 tons up on a car jack rated for 2 tons, and then shoving cedar logs under the wheels and digging sand out from under the belly, we had it free.  Free and still broken and unusable.

The purpose of our trip, remember, was to use the skid loader.  And we had a whole 3-day weekend to do it in, except now we had no skid loader.

All righty then.

So, we gave each other a quick smooch and reminded ourselves how lucky we were to be together (notwithstanding Suz) and Bubba-mon fired up the big saw and instructed me to stay clear so that I wouldn’t get hit by debris.  No problem.

For awhile, we got a fair amount of clearing done.   Bubba-mon chain sawed, and I dragged the branches into a giant pile.  We saw no snakes, scorpions, man-eating spiders or other fearsome creatures.  The temperature peaked at 100, ten degrees cooler than the previous weekend.  I was feeling pretty good about life, when all of a sudden, something large, hard, and heavy crunched into the top of the head.

Holy shit.  It was a tree.  My enthusiastic husband had decided to test his chain saw on some slightly bigger subjects, and my head was the proof of his success.

No one else witnessed the event.  My 16-year old son, who otherwise was a pleasure to be around the whole weekend, reacted to my news that Eric’s tree had almost paralyzed me, with, “What were you doing standing in the way, Mom?”

Grrrr.  This was almost funny, considering the source.

Bubba-mon himself, after a choked-out apology, said, “I’ve got enough on my hands worrying about my own safety without having to worry about yours, too.”  Well, the man had a point, even if that comment was not well-advised 15 short seconds after my brush with death.  He was dripping blood from multiple unbandaged locations already. Lucky he’s so cute and buys me tulips on Fridays.

Rarer than Sasquatch, we call this sighting, "Teenager Briefly At Worsquatch."

The next day, he said, “You’re going to write about this like it was a giant redwood.”

“Texas doesn’t have redwoods.  That’s California,” I said.  “And the tree had a 3 and 1/2 inch trunk.”

Maybe it wasn't quite this big.

“All that hit you were a few leaves,” he said.

I pointed to the knot on my head.  “Wanna feel what the leaves did?”

He shook his head and tried again.  “I did tell you to stand back.”

“Only with you would 35 feet be insufficient, given the task.”

He relented, and wrapped me in a sweaty hug.  “Maybe it wasn’t a redwood, but it was big enough that I really worried that I’d hurt you.  I’m sorry.”

I had already forgiven him, though, because (and now this really is the 100% truth) I should have known to have stayed a half mile away from my husband when he was operating a piece of machinery that boasted an industrial cutting implement.

We worked diligently on day two with no incident, until Bubba-mon had finally broken both the chain saw and the pole saw.  Clark and I were dying with tiredness and couldn’t believe it had taken him so long.  We would have probably felt better if Bubba-mon had not kept to himself the fact that he knew we didn’t have enough gas in our generator to last the night.  It ran out at 2 a.m., when the temperature outside was down to a pleasant 87 degrees.  Bubba-mon pretended to be asleep as our air conditioner shut off inside the Quacker, along with the generator.  Bad Bubba-mon.   What I really needed after that hot night with a sore head was a cold drink, but Bubba-mon Junior aka Clark had left the cooler open.  I settled for a warm Sobe.

So Clark and I had counted on being on the road back to Houston with a Suburban full of mangled machinery hours ago.  To our horror, Bubba-mon whipped out the clippers and machete, but Clark and I threw up our hands, and he put them away after only 15 minutes of solo chopping.

As we got ready to drive away, Bubba-mon — completely forgetting for a moment the skid loader dig-out that started our work weekend — said, “Let’s try out the new driveway,” and pointed the Suburban into the partially cleared forest.

I didn’t even have time to yell, “Sand!!!!!!!!” much less, “Honey, don’t you think the Suburban might get stuck in all that sand?  Why don’t we wait and try it once we lay the gravel?”

So, day two ended much like day one began, with a massive dig out project.

But, no one went to the emergency room, and really, what other criterion do you need to judge a weekend in Nowheresville by?

We aren't going to let something little like a giant redwood to the head come between us. :-)

Have a super week,

Pamelot

p.s.  The repairman is visiting the skid loader today.  I’m sure his house call to Nowheresville will be nice and cheap.

p.p.s. I’m taking the pole saw and chain saw both in for repairs today, too.   Or at least Bubba-mon thinks I am.  😉

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34 Responses to If a tree falls in the forest.

  1. Awesome….thanks for the great re-cap of the weekend. I love seeing it all unfold through your eyes. Oh, and it’s always great to read about the many adventures of my friend Bubba-Mon. Good to hear that you all survived the weekend and thanks for another entertaining post.

    Darryl

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks Darryl. One thing I left out: we smelled the Bastrop fires within a half hour. Scared the bejesus out of me. I worried all night that our forest was going to go up in flames. This drought and that Sahara wind — scary stuff.

  2. Hmmm – I’m thinking it might have been cheaper in the long run to have hired someone to come out and do all that while you guys sat in lawn chairs and watched… but that’s just me! And really, how could you develop those wonderful family memories and closeness any other way??? And the reason you didn’t see any snakes, scorpions, man-eating spiders or other fearsome creatures is because they’re here in my swimming pool doing the back stroke. It’s a bit freaky so if you want them back, I’ll gladly express ship them to you!

  3. Eric Hutchins says:

    What you hear when the tree falls is EEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRIIIIIICCCCCCCC! :)

  4. Heidi Dorey says:

    That’s what you get when you have a Nowheresville full of geniuses.
    I’m serious…geniuses are the worst.
    My mother is a genius (literally) and she once opened a radiator
    full of boiling water into her face…after I warned her NOT to.

    What an adventure you had!
    I can almost hear your gritted teeth in that blog. LOL

  5. I forgot to add – WOWZERS on Suz – what a doll! HOW old did you say she was? Can you say C-belt??? She is so beautiful. And how cool you caught that elusive creature in photo form – The Teenager Briefly Working” – wow. Such a rare photo. This was one of the funniest posts I’ve read in awhile. I could just “hear” you guys. Sure wish I’d been a leetle fly on the wall (above swatting range).

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks. It’s my fave piece to write since the frogs. In fact, it’s the only thing I have felt really moved to write about since then.

      Yes, C-belt. 14. Ugh.

  6. Ann says:

    Oh man, I was waiting for this story and it didn’t fail to amuse. My husband kept asking, “What, what?” every time I laughed out loud but I of course couldn’t answer Thanks for sharing Pamela. Glad to hear we aren’t the only ones with crazy stories.

  7. —can’t wait to read this, Pam.
    on my way to work….I need to read at 3:30!!!!!!! xxxxxxxxxxx

  8. ridgely says:

    …what a dull time LT and I had in comparison- we went to the mountains, visited gorgeous apple orchards and I did not pick up one piece of yard equipment- have y’all ever thought about going on the show “Swamp Loggers ?” Love your family trip tales ;\}

    • Pamela says:

      Swamp Loggers? OMG, they have reality shows for everything now.
      No, I could never let cameras into our lives. It would be endless footage of me eating, and I would be too horrified!

  9. Peter says:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Pamelot’s Dad
    To: Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ Road to Joy
    Sent: Wed, Sep 7, 2011 8:56 am
    Subject: Re: Road to Joy: If a tree falls in the forest.

    LOL.

    Sent from my iPad

  10. Eric Hutchins says:

    Oh Pamela, that was not nice. I am taking good care of his machine and whatever was wrong with it was not the result of my actions.

    And for those concerned that we might not have enough tools for our next trip we are now proud owners of a new power head for the limb saw, and then chain saw should be ready today.

    Also a New Holland (Skid Loader) mechanic is due out in nowwheresville for a diagnoses of the sick loader.

    • Pamela says:

      :) You are taking good care of his machine, and you not only didn’t break it, you haven’t even used it yet! Lord only knows what ghost is in that machine. But, your track record is spotty my sweetie.

      Luckily, the new power head for the pole saw was FREE. They should have asked you how it broke instead of just given you the unconditional replacement for “first 30 days”. Now let’s see what the big saw and the skid loader cost…

      I LOVE YOU ERIC HUTCHINS

      Your biggest fan,
      Pamela

  11. So, I sat down here at my computer with my ice-cold glass of Diet Pepsi, thinking I would find me a fairy-tale of which to enjoy. Or I could just make one up. I came upon this frivolous tale of a handsome prince and his princess doing “other than” monarchy-type chores, and was forced to spew my delicious beverage all over the keyboard in appreciation of the spectacle before me. There he was, Lord Bubba-Mon, attempting to oft the fair Lady Pameloth with a monster tree of biblical proportions. But, with fleetness of the feet, the doomed damsel deflected his attempts. And, to make a ridiculously long fairy-tale a bit easier to swallow, Lady Pameloth remains, to this day, on the throne beside her man, despite his true and secret desires to work as Court Jester, or Royal Undertaker. The End

    The above is a pack of lies. The names have been included to show that Pamela’s story (the one SHE told, not me) was not so far-fetched at all. Especially after you read mine.

    Well, except for the giant redwoods.

    • Pamela says:

      It’s a fairy tale! The Royal Undertaker strangely leads me back to the whole underpants theme, I’m simple that way — word association. I think we’re going to have to find a way to work that back into our story lines :)

      You’re hilarious, and happy birthday again!

  12. Ally says:

    You two are nothing if not amazing. That you would even ATTEMPT these acts in 100 degrees is nothing short of crazy – I mean heroic. LOL – as much as I like heat, I’m a major wimp when it comes to working in it!

    I did wonder about your place and if it was close to any of the fires… Hope all is safe!

    • Pamela says:

      yeah, a big ps to all of this is that besides the HEAT the reason I did not sleep one night of our weekend was that we could smell the fires (30 miles away), and i was a wee bit nervous. the huge 16-mile 450,000 acre 550-homes-destroyed fire is that one, and to the east is another mandatory evacuation house eating fire. it’s wicked dry. you can probably tell from the pictures in this blog how dry it is. what is a beautiful vibrant forest on our property is brown sticks. we’re losing a LOT of trees :-( … not just the pond.

  13. Savage says:

    Awright Theresa, I don’t buy that “ice-cold glass of Diet Pepsi” stuff. It must’ve been much stonger than Diet for those fantasies: “his true and secret desires to work as a Royal UnderPantsTaker.”

    Also, I am wondering why amateur lumberjacks, Lord Bubba-Mon and Lady Pameloth, are tree killing in Texas. If you wanna dunk, go to the NBA. If you wanna kills trees, go where there’s plenty of trees to kick yo ass.

  14. Pamela says:

    Don’t know who you are, but there are so many trees on our dense, forested property that until we started clearing our driveway, you needed a machete to walk thru. Methinks you ain’t from anywhere around here if you think all of Texas is a treeless plain like Amarillo. Unfortunately the drought has killed a LOT of trees on our property, and all over Texas. 66 million in Houston alone, which still doesn’t exactly leave it treeless 😉 Now we just pray for no more fire, b/c that does the most damage of all. And even as I type this response, my husband just sent me pictures of a fire IN HOUSTON.

    FYI, for those that are interested, the only trees we are taking down are those with 4 inch or less trunks (75% 1 inch or less) and dead ones. We’ll pay a little more to install our electricity this way, b/c it creates a longer trench, but we want to save every tree of size.

  15. Well, the first thing you did wrong was NOT have 5 sons. If you had 5 sons, you would have got to stay home, or be Martha Stewart in the woods, meaning cooking, keeping cool and, uummmmm, well, no almost-murder.For some reason, your guy sounds so much like my guy. But when there’s large equipment around or saws, I just skeedattle ’cause my girl brain just can’t handle the man brain man stuff and my 5 sons learning how to handle the man stuff. I had a finger cut off once – and the dr. who reattached it when I was 4 does NOT live near me!

    Can’t wait to hear about next weekend!!!!

  16. Pamela says:

    Total repair bill from this wild wild weekend:

    Skidloader $350 — rats had chewed through the boom wires! Must now leave rat traps in the engine compartment, ew!
    Chainsaw $38 — new chain, old one had bent teeth, old being a relative term since it was new last week.
    Polesaw $0 — replaced for free, no questions asked, b/c we had purchased the $40 warranty and returned it for service within the first 30 days of purchase. Maybe Lowe’s should rethink this policy…

    And we are headed out there again tonight (after a stop at the Chicken Ranch Dance Hall for some country music and two-steppin’!). Please pray for my safety and the safety of all aforementioned equipment!!!

  17. Sandy says:

    LMAO!! It just so happens that too broke my pole saw over Labor Day weekend. Mine can’t be repaired so I have to get a new one. Oh, and please…when ANYONE has tree falling implements stay very, very far away…

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